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The COVID-19 battle is back on the rise in North Dakota, thanks to the presence of new variants which are more transmissible, according to state and local health professionals.

In February, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) announced the new variant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first detected in the United Kingdom was identified in positive specimens from two individuals in North Dakota.

“This variant strain is thought to be more contagious which reinforces the importance of continuing to wear a mask, physical distancing, staying home when you’re sick, getting tested, and quarantining when you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive,” said Kirby Kruger, Disease Control Director for the NDDoH, when the announcement was made. “Getting the vaccine when it’s your turn is another great way to prevent the spread of the variant strain.”

Now, there is more than one variant in the state, but the health professionals in the state still stress the best way to protect against the contagion is by getting vaccinated.

Sherry Adams, the executive director of the Southwestern District Health Unit, said that a large number of Bowman County residents were vaccinated April 15 when they unit held a vaccination clinic in the Four Seasons Pavilion on the Bowman County Fairgrounds.

The event was part of a push to get as many North Dakota residents as possible vaccinated, according to Adams.

As of about a week ago, the state has been hit with four variants of the COVID-19 virus – with 50 of the 79 people identified as having what is described as the UK variant.

Twenty-people were identified as having one of the two California variants. While one person had the South African mutation.

According to state officials, the person with the South African variant had traveled to that country.

The rest of the variants have all been transmitted in the state of North Dakota.

According to Kirby Kruger, director of the Health Department’s Disease Control Division, an increase in variants is another likely reason for a recent spike in active cases in the state.

“We do know that the U.K. variant is about 50% more infectious than the wild type virus, and we also know that the California variants are more infectious -- they’re each about 20% more infectious,” he said recently.

As of Monday (April 19), Bowman County did not have any active cases. Neither did neighboring, Slope, Adams and Billings counties.

However, the state daily positivity rate is listed as 6.0 percent.

The state has administered 504,929 doses of vaccinations, with 268,938 listed as receiving more than one dose.

The state has 1,004 active cases, which was a drop of 55 from the previous day’s listing. There are 35 people who were hospitalized with any form of the COVID-19 virus in Monday’s report.

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